Message from the Dean

Fostering soft skills for career success

Liesl Folks, PhD, MBA Dean, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

We are passionate about providing our students with opportunities to develop hard and soft skills during the course of their degree programs, reminding them often of the importance of each in the workplace.

Our faculty spend vast hours pondering the analytical skills and technical knowledge students need to succeed in the modern world, and developing meaningful coursework that connects rigorous fundamental concepts with real-world needs. As a result, our graduates stand among the best in the world for their hard skills, making us proud of all they achieve.

In parallel, the faculty and staff have created a large array of programs to advance students’ understanding of the soft skills that make collective human efforts successful, particularly in a global economy.

Our taxonomy of these essential skills is just as complex as the degree programs that brought students to SEAS in the first place, ranging from communication to self-assessment to ethical reasoning to conflict management to cultural competency, with much in between.

As we have expanded our experiential learning opportunities for students, we also have found new and exciting ways to engage them in learning across the soft skills spectrum. There are now well over 200 different offerings that our students can choose from, thus enabling them to round out their professional skillset.

We are thrilled, too, that increasing numbers of alumni have remained involved with our school in a myriad of ways, exemplifying the value of networking and providing real-world advice, mentoring and connections leading to job opportunities. You will read in these pages about just one example of how our active and engaged alumni help students develop their soft skills through their involvement with the American Society of Civil Engineers.

As we celebrate our first 70 years as New York State’s premier public school of engineering, we look forward to graduating students who are equipped with all the skills they will need to tackle the biggest problems we face, regionally, nationally and across the world.